Every time I see Mr Sam Cohen of IHRB in action at a Tribunal, I am reminded of Vicky Pollard from ‘Little Britain’. Unfortunately, the performance leads to some poor IHRB client walking out having experienced injustice in full flight. I have told people that I believe that Mr Cohen lies about everything. They ask me to give examples. I never know where to start, because ‘everything’ is a very large area. Where can I start to explain the endless lies? Here is a letter sent to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT). The letter was accompanied by a stack of supporting material. This letter ought to give you a feel for what victims have to battle during the course of a CTTT Application. To see Vicky Pollard in action, click here to watch an example on YouTube .
27 July 2012
Dear CTTT Registrar
Re: GEN 12/04893 VJ and Institute of Hair Regrowth & Beauty Pty Ltd.
Under Section 71 of the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Act 2001, we wish to lodge a formal complaint about the Respondent and his solicitor allegedly misleading the Tribunal and providing false information and telling untruths.
We understand the Act says that a person must not, in any proceedings or application, ‘provide any information or make any statement, to the Tribunal, Chairperson or Registrar knowing that the information or statement is false or misleading in a material respect.’
We believe that the Respondent has made numerous misleading statements. Some of which did secure advantages. For example, through the campaign-of-lies and through unverified and unsubstantiated claims, the Respondent was able to convince Member P Smith to:
A) issue an Order to restrict publication of evidence.
B) go against the Registrar’s decision who had originally refused the Respondent permission to appoint a legal representative.
The lies and deceptions are too numerous to list here. For the purposes of establishing the complete disregard for the truth, and to illustrate how the Act has been breached, we furnish the following evidence here, and ask the Tribunal to take every step possible to report the breaches to the relevant authorities, including Mr Rod Stowe (the Commissioner of NSW Fair Trading), and to ask the Minister (The Hon Anthony Roberts) to push for a second prosecution. (The Respondent, Mr Cohen, was previous prosecuted by NSW Fair Trading for lying to the Tribunal on a previous occasion.)
Note that some of the lies were previously exposed and disproved, yet the Respondent still tries to mislead the Tribunal, as if trying his luck to get away with whatever he can, while trying to discredit those who are exposing him.
Here are just some of the countless lies perpetrated by the Respondent. Some of which were endorsed by his solicitor.
Please refer to a bound document that the Applicant signed. It was dated 14 March 2012 and sent to The Registrar. On page 21 onwards of that document, we highlight examples of how the Respondent tried to mislead the Tribunal. These include:
Page 21) Mr Cohen told Member De Jersey that in recent CTTT cases, it has been the norm for him to engage his solicitor to represent him at CTTT. This is not true. See page 21 for proof.
Page 22) Mr Cohen told Member De Jersey that I had ‘instigated’ his clients. This is not true. See page 22 for proof.
Page 23) Mr Cohen told Member De Jersey that I had sought out the HCCC complainants. This is not true. See page 23 for proof.
Page 24) During the Group Hearing of 5 March 2012, the Respondent’s solicitor was underhandedly trying to give the impression that I was misleading Ms De Jersey when I spoke-up about the matter mentioned on Page 21. They told an untruth, and were trying to discredit me. See page 24 for proof.
In a letter to the Tribunal, dated 17 March 2012 and signed by Mr Cohen’s solicitor, we allege that the solicitor tried to mislead the Tribunal, in writing, and this was after I had raised the alarm on his earlier attempt to allegedly mislead the Tribunal verbally!
Please refer to a bound document that the Applicant signed. It was dated 9 April 2012 and sent to The Registrar.
Page 5) Mr Cohen’s solicitor wrote, ‘The Respondent had been granted leave to be represented in similar proceedings before the Tribunal…’ This is false and misleading. See page 5 for proof with Audio recordings. This misleading statement was made even after I had raised the alarm about it, when it was first attempted verbally.
In a letter from the Respondent to the Tribunal, dated 2 May 2012, the Respondent makes numerous false claims. For example, in that letter, we note:
Page 2) A) Mr Cohen says that he called the Administrators to close down Ashley & Martin. The company never closed down. The current CEO of Ashley & Martin says that (see Appendix 79), ‘Mr Sam Cohen was not involved with the company going into administration…’
B) Also Mr Cohen says that he lost a lot of money. The current CEO of Ashley & Martin says that Mr Cohen (see Appendix 79), ‘held no financial interests’.
C) Mr Cohen says that a very affluent customer invested millions in IHRB. I spoke with the partner on two occasions, and on both occasions, the partner says he only invested around $20,000. The Tribunal might like to ask Mr Cohen to prove his story. Failure to do so, would show the kinds of misleading statements that he makes throughout each and every document Mr Cohen has ever submitted to CTTT.
D) Mr Cohen says that to the best of his knowledge, he is the only person offering a money-back guarantee. Mr Cohen was a director of Ashley & Martin. He worked there for over 30 years. The Ashely & Martin Annual Report says that Mr Cohen was the ‘company’s longest serving, most successful and productive manager’. Yet he does not recall that, as stated by the current CEO (Appendix 79), that Ashley & Martin has been offering a full money back guarantee since 1995.
E) Mr Cohen tells CTTT that he takes photos of the affected areas of a client’s scalp and he highlights the areas to show his limitation. This is not true. See Appendix 109.
F) Mr Cohen tells CTTT that he informs clients that the treatment is for a lifetime. This is not true. See Appendix 29. [Dear Reader, Since this letter was written, Mr Cohen started to tell everyone that his treatment is for a lifetime. This is his way of now securing long-term income. Previously, even in his full-page ads, he would ridicule his competitors for not divulging the length of the treatment.]
G) Mr Cohen expects CTTT to believe that HCCC has confirmed the existence of his secret extracts. No such therapeutic extracts exist. HCCC never confirmed these. See Appendix 43.
H) Mr Cohen refers to his testimonials. The Complaints Resolution Panel found that these Testimonials were unverified. Despite being ordered to withdraw those representations, Mr Cohen still asks CTTT to believe that they are valid. In a case involving a Mr RR, Mr Cohen submitted one such testimonial, which is still referenced on his website. It is not a testimonial at all. See Appendix 77.
I) Ipso facto, Mr Cohen is misleading the Tribunal by saying that he does have effective therapeutic secret extracts.
Page 3) A) Mr Cohen tells CTTT (as he had done so previously) that he has a partner who must counter-sign cheques. This is false. He is the only signatory at the bank. I have confirmed this with the bank. His signatures bear this out. Also, ASIC records show that Mr Cohen was the only director, and had been the only director long before I became his client. So he is lying about needing a second signature. I also confirmed this with this then business partner [who has since dumped Mr Cohen and severed all relationships].
Page 4) A) Mr Cohen says that clients appoint him as their Agent. This is incorrect. No such appointment can be proved.
B) Mr Cohen says if a client’s doctor approves the prescription, it ‘is sent to us. We then send the prescription to our “Compounding Chemist”… The bottles comes back to us. We then issue them to our customers.’ This is completely the opposite of what the Respondent said to the Complaints Resolution Panel. See Appendix 105, page 8, para 11.3 which spills to page 9.
C) Mr Cohen is trying to mislead CTTT into thinking that Minoxidil is freely available everywhere, as if to suggest that the HCCC Prohibition Order was unfair. This is misleading. Cigarettes are available everywhere, but no-one is permitted to sell them without a license. Mr Cohen NEVER had a licence to sell Minoxidil of any strength, because it is a Scheduled Poison that can only be purchased from a pharmacy.
D) Mr Cohen says that HCCC was satisfied that he wasn’t breaching any laws. This is not true. HCCC said that they now believe that Mr Cohen is ‘aware’ of the law [after speaking with him]. See Appendix 47.
E) Mr Cohen says that I told magazines to stop publishing his advertisements. The Complaints Resolution Panel had Sanctioned the ads, yet Mr Cohen was not obeying the Sanctions which required that he withdraw the ads and publish retractions. See Appendix 107.
Page 5) A) Mr Cohen tells CTTT that, ‘The Member at CTTT kept on insisting about my academic qualifications. To stop further questioning, I told him that I was a Bachelor of Science.’ Mr Cohen is trying to mislead the Tribunal into thinking that he was put under pressure and said something that he had not previously uttered. Mr Cohen had submitted extracts from the Ashley & Martin Annual Report (Appendix 111) which shows that as far back as 1997, when he was a director, the Annual Report says, ‘He holds the degree of bachelor of Science from Rajshahi University.’ In an Affidavit dated 3 May 2010 (Appendix 112), Mr Cohen swears and signs that, ‘I hold a Bachelor of Science degree from Rajshahi University in India.’
The Affidavit sent to the Tribunal, dated, 15 May 2012, contains countless lies and deceptive or unverified or unsubstantiated statements designed to mislead the Tribunal. Almost every paragraph is misleading or dubious. By way of example, here are a few examples:
Page 7 PARA 22:
Mr Cohen denies ever saying that clients need to allow 3 years to see results. He says, ‘I deny having said this’. Yet, in Appendix 67 we see a letter from NSW Fair Trading wherein this is exactly what Mr Cohen told Fair Trading.
Page 7 PARA 24:
Point a: Mr Cohen tells CTTT that ‘some of the promotional material has been determined to have breached guidelines. This is not true. In fact, ALL material has breached, and continues to breach the Codes and Act. Mr Cohen adds that he corrected the advertising after the CRP ruling. This is false. He is still in breach of the Sanctions. This means that Mr Cohen is misleading the Tribunal in this Affidavit.
Point b: Mr Cohen denies ignoring TGA requirements. Evidence shows that he has continued to ignore the TGA requirements, such as selling while unlicensed, ads not approved, products not labelled, products not tested or scientifically verified, products not registered, no warnings given, etc.
Point c: Mr Cohen denies being found to have endangered clients and denies to have been found in illegal possession of dangerous medications. Both denials are misleading. HCCC made those findings as clearly noted in the HCCC Statement of Decision. See Appendix 49.
Point d: Mr Cohen denies breaching the orders. Email between Mr Cohen and the Respondent prove otherwise. This is therefore another attempt to mislead the Tribunal. See appendices 11 & 14. Mr Cohen’s assertion that the Applicant was given an alternative product can be tested via the Police and through a Lab. [Lab results have since come to show that Mr Cohen was lying and breaking the law and breaching the Prohibition Orders.]
Point e: Mr Cohen says that he is unaware of any statements to Mr Johal by pharmacists. This is not correct. Mr Cohen received copies of the emails, and commented about them, and accused his pharmacists of lying. This means that here, Mr Cohen is misleading the tribunal. See Appendices 19 & 20.
Point f: Mr Cohen tries to mislead the Tribunal by saying HCCC acknowledged his products: i) included other extracts; and ii) were blended by a registered pharmacist. Both statements are complete lies. Mr Cohen knew about the letter from HCCC that denied ever verifying the formulation. HCCC noting the non-compliance and irregularities. It was not backing-up Mr Cohen’s lies. (This was covered above in STAGE 3, Page 2, G). As for the compounding, emails from Mr Cohen (Appendix 21) and denials from the pharmacist’s Summons (Appendix 106), prove that this is a lie.
Point g: Mr Cohen denies tampering with the prescription. Evidence proves otherwise. The fact he held on to it for six months and the prescription for one item (Appendix 11) was later dispensed for a quantity of ’12’ items instead of the ‘1’ item (Appendix 26), was consistent with HCCC’s findings (Appendix 49 para 6.27 of HCCC report). It was proved that Mr Cohen hoarded prescriptions. He sold medications to the Applicant, while not using that Applicant’s prescription until six months later. The HCCC noted that he was just using prescriptions as his was of stocking-up and selling products illegally.
Point h: Mr Cohen is misleading the Tribunal by saying that he gave an ‘inadvertent answer’. There was nothing inadvertent about it. Mr Cohen is trying to mislead the Tribunal into thinking that he was put under pressure and said something ‘inadvertently’. Mr Cohen had submitted excerpts from the Ashley & Martin Annual Report (Appendix 111) which shows that as far back as 1997, when he was a director, the Annual Report says, ‘He holds the degree of bachelor of Science from Rajshahi University.’ In an Affidavit dated 3 May 2010 (Appendix 112), Mr Cohen swears and signs that, ‘I hold a Bachelor of Science degree from Rajshahi University in India.’ Therefore, in this current Affidavit, Mr Cohen is misleading the Tribunal by suggesting that his answer was inadvertent.
The above are some of the many deceptive statements made by the Respondent. We expect that during the formal hearing on 27 July, additional misleading information might be submitted or stated. In which case we ask that we can also delve into each of those statements to ensure that this Hearing remains fair.
Jonar Nader, for the Applicant VJ